Matt Niskanen is usually a pretty steady player who doesn’t look for big hits. But when he does look to lower the boom, boy is it brutal.

Late in the second period of game six, former Capital Mikhail Grabovski tried to carry the puck behind Braden Holtby‘s net. Instead, he was crushed with a beautiful shoulder-to-shoulder hit by Niskanen.

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To All the Caps I’ve Loved Before


There’s really no need to read this piece. Your life will be no better for having read what’s below. Your life might actually get worse. You should probably stop right now.

(Last chance.)

So the Caps have freed some players over the last few years, and it feels like all of them have turned into beautiful hockey butterflies. The team had good reasons to trade or release some guys; others… not so much. In this still very young season, those hockey butterflies are playing so good it’s like they’re trying to make you jealous. Well, it’s not going to work, hockey butterflies.

Okay, yeah, it is.

I’m gonna take a peek around the league, in a totally non-Facebook-stalker-y way, just to see how certain ex-Caps forwards are doing in their new homes. Pretty freaking well, it turns out. Starting with prospect-bust-turned-Calder-standout Filip Forsberg, lemme run down who has moved on and how they’re doing.

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The “Ice Bucket Challenge” was started by ALS patients Pete Frates and Pat Quinn to raise money and awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). It goes like this: you post a video of you dumping ice water over your head, then you challenge three of your friends to do the same. The promotion has led to a surge of money to fight the disease. Recently, guy that I totally hate but not in this instance, Sidney Crosby, completed the challenge.

Sunday evening, New York Islanders teammates and total besties, Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski, took the Ice Bucket challenge. It was the funniest one I’ve seen so far.

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The Washington Capitals misspelled Mikhail Grabovski‘s jersey nameplate a couple times last season (1, 2). It was funny, but not a big deal. With players from countries that use the Cyrillic alphabet, I and Y endings are interchangeable when translated into English. Each player chooses how he’d like it to be translated.

The Caps’ mistake was innocent, but it turns out it wasn’t limited to Grabovski’s jersey. RMNB reader Jacob explains.

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There were a lot of wacky contracts given out at the start of free agency. But if you ask 500-goal scorer and very, very articulate NBC analyst Jeremy Roenick, there were none worse than the four-year, $20-million contract awarded to Mikhail Grabovski by the New York Islanders.

“Way to go islanders!!!!” Roenick said in another poorly capitalized and punctuated Twitter rage blackout. “Making a 40pt guy a 5 million dollar player!!! Grabovski?? 5 million??? I’m going back to the gym!! Good god.”

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Photo: Chris Gordon

I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. Mikhail Grabovski is now a former Capital. Wednesday afternoon, Grabo signed a four-year, $20 million deal with the Metropolitan rival New York Islanders. The talented center will be on Long Island until he’s 34.

Grabo’s deal is one year shorter and worth $7.5 million less than the contract Brooks Orpik signed with the Caps. I can’t wait to see how well that works out.

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Doesn’t Look Like Caps Will Re-sign Mikhail Grabovski

Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan spoke to the press after Friday night’s first round of the draft. He dropped this update on the pursuit to re-sign forward Mikhail Grabovski:

Thaaaaat’s not good.

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Trotz MacLellan (11 of 13)

Photos by Chris Gordon

Early Monday, the Washington Capitals announced that they had promoted Ross Mahoney, who has been the Caps’ director of amateur scouting for the past 16 seasons, to the vacant assistant general manager position.

At 1pm, Caps GM Brian MacLellan held a conference call with reporters to talk about Mahoney’s promotion, but the discussion quickly turned to everything else.

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Why Is Alex Ovechkin Shirtless This Time?


Photo: @a0gr8

Over the weekend, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin posted a shirtless selfie on Instagram. Again. As this is a regular occurrence, I didn’t make much of it, but just in case I asked actual RMNB Russian Igor Kleyner if there was any significance to the photo.

Apparently, yes.

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Grabovski’s player ID from the Belarusian Football Federation. (Photo:

Early Monday, the television channel Belarus-1 reported news that I’m not sure any of us were expecting. Unrestricted free agent Mikhail Grabovski has signed a new deal, but it’s not with a hockey team. It’s with the Krumkachy Minsk (Minsk Ravens), a soccer club in Belarus’ Second League.

Ravens chairman Denis Shunto announced the news on TV, saying that Grabovski will suit up for the team in late July. For those of you beginning to worry, we have been assured that while Grabo will indeed play for the Ravens, it’s intended more as a summer workout for next year’s hockey season than a change in career.

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